Orson Welles introduces ‘Intolerance’ by DW Griffith (1916). Just listening to Orson Wells is fun…His intro only lasts about 4 minutes the rest of it is excerpts from the failed silent epic. But he says some really interesting things about his own career and the film. ST wonders how it is possible that a man with so much artistic ability could have been so out of step with his cultural moment (Griffith not Welles)? He was a 20th century maverick burdened with the culture of the 19th century…making for some powerfully innovative…and yet culturally stale (and even offensive) films. You cant talk about him without talking about his flawed content. ST thinks that must have been really frustrating for him. Intolerance was a flat-footed attempt (in content) to ‘right’ the wrongs of ‘Birth of a Nation’. What was it like to be DW Griffith? Probably very disappointing most of the time. Can a total idiot and total genius be trapped in the same body…apparently yes.
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